Pope Francis told the world’s religious leaders that the desire to search for the truth, beauty and goodness is what unites them all.
CNA reports, Pope Francis met with Muslim leaders, the head of Rome's Jewish community Rabbi Riccardo di Segni, and heads of other Christian denominations on Wednesday.
“We feel close to all who, despite being from other traditions and religions, feel the desire to look for truth, beauty and goodness,” said the new Pope.
He described the spiritual bond between Catholics and Jews as “very special” and expressed gratitude to Muslim leaders.
“From my side I wish to ensure you my firm will continue the path of ecunemical dialogue, which the (Second Vatican) Council initiated,” said Pope Francis at the Clementine Hall of his new home, the Apostolic Palace.
“The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions,” the Pope said. “I want to repeat this: the promotion of friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions.”
The new Pope noted that ecumenism can “do a lot for those who are poor, weak or suffer by promoting justice and peace.”
“But man reduces himself to the 'I' who produces and the 'I' who consumes,” he said.
The religious leaders greeted him personally after his address and gave him gifts including Christian icons.